I think my biggest disappointment with the New 52 is that they didn’t go far enough.

They had a chance to completely reinvent the DC Universe to an extent that we haven’t seen since the dawn of the Silver Age. Instead, we have the same basic characters: Superman is still Clark Kent, Batman is still Bruce Wayne, Wonder Woman is still Diana, Flash is still Barry Allen, Green Lantern is still Hal Jordan (and John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner, and Guy Gardner), etc.

They could have tried to recapture the sheer creativity that made the Silver Age such a success. (What if instead of a guy with a magic ring, we make him a space cop? What if instead of a small guy who’s really strong, he actually shrinks to microscopic size?) Instead, they tried to recapture the success of the post-Crisis DCU. That’s still ambitious, but it has nowhere near the same level of potential, and I think that’s thrown a wet blanket over the past two years.

But the New 52 seems to be this weird combination of top-down heavy-handed editorial mandate and throw-things-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks. The post-Crisis on Infinite Earths universe felt a lot more open and creative, like almost anything was possible.

Then again, I’m thinking of the first five years or so after COIE (before it accumulated enough complexity that they started doing things like Zero Hour and all the gimmicks we now think of as exemplifying the 1990s), and we’re only two years into the New 52, and I do remember there being a bit of a shakedown period — and I’ve had 20 years to forget the stuff that didn’t work in the late 1980s in favor of what did. So I could be seeing it through nostalgia-colored glasses.

Edited together from a pair of comments I originally posted on Reddit

OK, DC’s next big event is called Final Crisis. Does anyone believe they’ll simply stop with the events? They might actually stop putting the word “crisis” in the title, I suppose, but what will they call the next event after?

  • Final Crisis II
  • Post-Final Crisis
  • Final Crisis X-2
  • Final Crisis Leopard
  • Final Crisis Vista
  • Son of Final Crisis
  • Finaler Crisis
  • Final Crisis Again
  • Final Crisis: The Final Chapter

(List put together at the Ghirardelli ice cream shop late Saturday evening after three long days of Comic-Con.)

Well, all four miniseries leading into Infinite Crisis are out. I’ve also read The Return of Donna Troy and the JSA Classified arc settling Power Girl’s origin.


  • Villains United: Fun adventure book with bad guys. Last-issue revelation was interesting. Cheshire is genuinely insane—I can believe this is the woman who nuked a small country just to prove she wasn’t bluffing.
  • Day of Vengeance: 3-issue story stretched out to 6. Some nice character moments, but overall have to wonder what the point was.
  • OMAC Project: Suspension of disbelief hung by neck until dead. And the worst part? The most important thing to happen in the series didn’t actually happen in the series.
  • Rann/Thanagar War: Total mish-mash. Even knowing who most of the alien races were didn’t help me keep up with what side anyone was on. Someone remarked that this was like a 12-issue epic condensed (badly) into 6 issues, and that sounds about right.
  • Donna Troy: I wanted to like this book. I really did. Donna Troy, George Perez/Phil Jimenez art, a direct sequel to a classic Titans story, and they all-but ignored John Byrne’s Dark Angel retcon-fest. But all the characterizations seemed off from the first page on. Even the art didn’t grab me. (The coloring didn’t help.) And while it’s interesting to take the idea that all her origins are true, the ending—particularly how Donna dealt with the Titans of Myth—really disturbed me. (While we’re at it, Donna doesn’t need her own moon for a headquarters.)
  • Power Girl: Believe it or not, I didn’t read it for the cheesecake. Like Day of Vengeance there were some great character moments (PG and Jimmy Olsen sitting on top of the Daily Planet building while Jimmy ate lunch and tried not to stare, for instance). But I had a hard time believing this was the same Power Girl I’d read in Justice League Europe during the 1990s. (Yes, JLE was populated by caricatures of the leads—anyone who read that book and Flash should know that—but it became more serious near the end of the run.) And again, I thought that the story could have been told in half the space—even keeping the character moments. And even though I’d guessed PG’s true origin early on—or perhaps because of it—the finale felt like a let-down instead of a “Hell, yeah!” Maybe if they’d let her say “So that’s who I am!” instead of slinking back to her apartment as confused as ever, only to run into a “To be continued…” sign, it might have felt less like an Infinite Crisis setup piece and more like an origin story.

Verdict: One hit, two sorta OK, three turkeys.

On a related note, Warren Ellis’ arc on JLA Classified, which started strongly, is rapidly going downhill. The plot’s holding up, but the dialogue has gone from “Clever!” to “Okaaaay…” to “You have got to be kidding me.” J’onn’s rant last month about how we insist on calling his home planet “Mars” was one of those moments. (You know, I don’t normally refer to Japan as “Nihon,” or the capital of Russia as “Moskva,” but that doesn’t mean I’m calling them by the wrong name.) And I think Wally used the words “speed force” more times in 5 pages than he has in the last 5 years of his own book.

I was idly wondering about the way super-heroes and villains are named—not the code names, but the actual names like Clark Kent, Matt Murdock, etc. Was Hunter Zolomon destined to become Zoom? Was Roy G. Bivolo doomed to become the Rainbow Raider the moment his parents named him? And why do so many people with the initials L.L. gravitate toward Superman?

Infinite Crisis Taveren“Obviously, he’s a ta’veren!” Katie said. I laughed for a second, but then remembered an interview I’d read about Infinite Crisis. It actually fits.

Ta’veren is a term from Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time that refers to a person who forms a focal point for history (or, from another perspective, destiny). Threads of probability bend around them, and the unlikely becomes likely. Babylon 5 referred to the concept as a nexus. “You turn one way, and the whole world has a tendency to go the same way.” Continue reading